My Garlic Plant Keeps Wilting & Dying

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Garlic is an extremely long-maturing vegetable that grows through both summer and winter in most areas. Gardeners plant garlic in spring or fall to give it the cool-season start it needs and provide care over its 240-day maturation. This hardy perennial comes back year after year with a root crop of small bulbs, each with many divisions. These divisions, or cloves, act as the seeds for the plants and can grow many new plants themselves. Like any vegetable, though, hardy garlic needs the right level of care to grow to maturity. If your new garlic plants are wilting and dying rather than thriving, adjust your care to save them.

Things You'll Need

  • Quick-draining soil
  • Organic compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Spade
  • Mulch
  • Prepare a new site for your garlic if it's growing in poor soil or shade. Garlic needs rich, crumbly earth and at least six hours of sun to thrive, so choose a more appropriate site and then amend the soil. Combine quick-draining soil and organic compost in equal parts and dig 3 inches of this mixture into the top 3 inches of soil in your new site.

  • Dig the garlic plants up and transfer them in mid-morning on a cool day. Move the plants quickly and one at a time to keep them from drying out during the transplant.

  • Water the garlic plants with 2 inches of water twice a week. These plants require consistently moist soil and will wilt and die if they're not getting enough water.

  • Feed the garlic plants with a side dressing of nitrogen fertilizer. Dig the fertilizer into the top inch of soil around each plant to encourage new foliage growth. Always water plants immediately after fertilizer application.

  • Spread 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the plants to keep the soil warm and moist and protect the plants from any cold temperatures.

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